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Five-year-old boy dies from Ebola in Uganda – health official

Two of his family members also tested positive for the virus after a visit to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Medical staff of the Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU) get ready to work in their Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during their weekly rehearsal at the Bwera General Hospital

A five-year-old boy who tested positive for Ebola in Uganda has died, a health ministry official told said on Wednesday as two of his family members also tested positive for the virus after a visit to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo. The World Health Organisation confirmed on Twitter that Uganda has now recorded three cases of Ebola, in the first spread across the country’s western border with the DRC where more than 2,000 cases of the highly contagious virus have been registered.

Uganda’s health ministry said on Tuesday that a woman of Congolese origin, who is married to a Ugandan, had gone with her child and four other family members to take care of her father in the DRC, who later died of Ebola. “The boy who tested positive for Ebola in Kasese yesterday passed last night in the isolation unit,” a health ministry official said on condition of anonymity.

non-contact thermometers are seen to check the temperature of people from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the Ebola screening point
In this file photo taken on December 12, 2018 non-contact thermometers are seen to check the temperature of people from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the Ebola screening point bordering with DRC in Mpondwe, western Uganda. – A five-year-old boy is being treated for Ebola in Uganda, the first case since an outbreak in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo 10 months ago, the World Health Organisation said on June 11, 2019. “The confirmed case is a 5-year-old Congolese child who traveled from the DRC with his family on 9th June 2019. The child and his family entered the country through Bwera Border post and sought medical care,” the WHO wrote on Twitter. (Photo by Isaac Kasamani / AFP)

“The minister for health – Ruth Aceng – will be briefing the country about the death of the boy and arrangements to bury the body.” The official said the child was likely to be buried Wednesday. DRC Health Minister Oly Ilunga Kalenga said the family were placed in isolation after being identified as in contact with an Ebola patient.

“During the isolation, some family members crossed into Uganda. As soon as they crossed, we contacted the Ugandan authorities,” he said in an interview Wednesday. Uganda’s health ministry said the family members had been identified and were placed in isolation in Bwera, a town near the border with DRC.

“Two more samples were sent to UVRI (Uganda Virus Research Institute) and have tested positive. We, therefore, have three confirmed cases of Ebola in Uganda,” the WHO Uganda posted on its Twitter account, citing a briefing from Ugandan Health Minister Ruth Aceng in Kasese in the country’s west.

Eight other people in contact with the family had been tracked down and were being monitored, the health ministry said.

East Africa on high alert due to the Ebola virus

East Africa has been on high alert since the outbreak in the eastern DRC. According to the WHO, Uganda vaccinated nearly 4,700 health workers in 165 facilities with an experimental drug designed to protect them against the virus. South Sudan has also declared a state of alert and vaccinated health workers.

Uganda has experienced several outbreaks in the past, most recently in 2012, while in 2000 more than 200 people died in an outbreak in the north of the country. The Red Cross said it was scaling up efforts to contain the spread of the virus since it was detected in Uganda.

“This is a worrying development, but we have been preparing for this day for months now,” Robert Kwesiga, Uganda Red Cross Secretary General, said in a statement Wednesday. The DRC has struggled to contain the outbreak which was first recorded in North Kivu province and then spread to neighbouring Ituri and has left over 1,300 dead.

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wash their hands at the Ebola screening point
People from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) wash their hands at the Ebola screening point bordering with DRC in Mpondwe, western Uganda, on December 12, 2018. – The second largest Ebola outbreak in Africa has strated in Democratic Republic of Congo causing 298 deaths since August 2018, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). (Photo by Isaac Kasamani / AFP)

Efforts to tackle the crisis have been hampered both by militia attacks on treatment centres and by the hostility of some local people to the medical teams. Five workers have been killed, according to an AFP tally, and important preventative work, such as vaccination programmes and burials of Ebola victims, has been delayed.

The outbreak is the 10th in the Democratic Republic of Congo since the disease was identified in 1976. It is the worst on record after an epidemic that struck Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone between 2014-2016, leaving more than 11,300 people dead.

Ebola is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads among humans through close contact with the blood, body fluids, secretions or organs of an infected person.

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Teenager with albinism found dismembered in Burundi

The teenager was found dead late Saturday in the northwest of the country along the Rusizi river

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Burundi teenager with Albinism found dismembered

15-year-old teen with albinism found dismembered one week after going missing

Case is first of such killing in Burundi for 3 years

Over 20 Burundians with albinism have been killed since 2008

A 15-year-old albino boy has been found dismembered in Burundi a week after going missing, the first such killing in the country in three years, a local albino group said Sunday. Albinos, who have white skin and yellow hair as a result of a genetic disorder that causes the absence of pigmentation, are killed regularly in some African countries for their body parts, which are used in witchcraft rituals. 

The teenager was found dead late Saturday in the northwest of the country along the Rusizi river separating Burundi from DR Congo, not far from his home village.

“The young albino was killed atrociously… His murderers cut his right leg off at the knee, his right arm and his tongue,” said Kassim Kazungu, the head of the local association Albinos Without Borders.

More than 20 albinos have been killed in Burundi since 2008, with the last case in 2016 when a five-year-old girl was found dismembered after being taken from her home. Kazungu said a four-year-old albino boy had been missing since October 2018 from the village of Cendajuri near the Tanzanian border, but that he had “no hope” of finding him alive.

Some experts believe the demand for albino body parts in Tanzania – where such attacks are the most prevalent – has fuelled such killings in border areas.

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Libyan National Army attack Mitiga airport and Zuwara airfield

Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

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(FILES) This file photo taken on April 08, 2019, shows the Mitiga International Airport in Libya's capital Tripoli. - Rocket fire on August 11 hit the Libyan capital's sole functioning airport, violating a temporary truce between the unity government and forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar, airport authorities said. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

Tripoli’s sole functioning airport Mitiga and Zuwara airfield were targeted for the second time in less than 48 hours – the former hit overnight Thursday and the latter on Friday morning.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) reported that three people were wounded in the raids by forces loyal to strongman Khalifa Haftar against the two airports under its control.

Airport management at Mitiga reported rocket fire against the runway “as planes took off and landed”. 

The UN-recognised GNA said on Facebook that Haftar’s forces “targeted employees of the airport services company” at Mitiga with Grad missiles, causing shrapnel wounds to two workers and damaging a bus.

Flights were temporarily suspended or rerouted to Misrata, 200 kilometres (120 miles) east of Tripoli.

In the attack against Zuwara airfield, Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army said it targeted a hangar “which houses Turkish drones and their ammunition”.

The Tripoli-based GNA said a member of civil protection was wounded in that attack.

Pro-Haftar forces also “targeted other hangars… located 1.5 kilometres to the east of Abu Kamach”, LNA spokesman Ahmed al-Mesmari said on Facebook.

The country’s biggest petrochemical complex is located there, near the Tunisian border.

Forces loyal to the GNA and the LNA are embroiled in a stalemate in Tripoli’s southern outskirts after Haftar launched an offensive against the capital in April.

Fighting over the last four months has killed 1,093 people and wounded 5,752, according to the World Health Organization. 

Some 120,000 have been displaced over the same period.

Libya has been mired in chaos since a NATO-backed uprising that toppled and killed Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. 

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Ethiopia’s Addis Ababa plans to ban prostitution and street begging

Officials say the law aims to “clean up the country’s image”

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Ethiopia's Addis Ababa plans to ban prostitution and street begging
(File photo)

Officials in Ethiopia’s capital are weighing bans on sex work and street begging, the latest in a series of measures intended to clean up the country’s image, the mayor’s office said Thursday.

Draft legislation detailing the terms of the bans is still being finalised. 

But Feven Teshome, press secretary for the Addis Ababa mayor’s office, told reporters that it was necessary to combat worsening “social problems” in the city of more than three million people.  

“We estimate there are over 50,000 beggars and more than 10,000 street prostitutes in Addis Ababa. The draft law aims to eliminate these social problems that also create a bad image for Ethiopia,” Feven said.

Sex work is currently not criminalised in Ethiopia, and Feven said the proposed ban in Addis Ababa would only apply to solicitation that occurs on the street.

That means it would not affect bars, massage parlours, guesthouses and other sites where sex work is sometimes rampant. 

Both sex workers and their clients would be subject to punishments that could take the form of fines or jail time, Feven said. 

Similarly, the ban on street begging would also target those who give beggars money.  

In May, Ethiopian officials passed nationwide restrictions on alcohol advertising and smoking in public places. 

Those measures also banned the sale of alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age.

In an effort to enforce the smoking restriction, security forces have in recent months raided night clubs suspected of offering shisha, or water pipe, smoking, briefly detaining customers and staff.  

Last month, officials in Addis Ababa banned most motorbikes in a bid to curb crime.

As they prepare to crack down on sex work and street begging, Feven said officials were attempting to provide “alternative job opportunities” for those affected. 

But she acknowledged that both activities can be lucrative, making them difficult to eliminate entirely.  

“Some of these beggars can earn up to Br 7,000 and similarly those engaged in street prostitution can earn incomes that are far higher than ordinary salaries,” Feven said. The figure applies to earnings per month.

City officials plan to hold further discussions on the legislation with religious and community leaders before putting it to a vote. 

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